Bob Dogan: Salishan
Pianist/composer/arranger/vocalist Bob Dogan is a Chicago jazz treasure. He studied in Boston with Jackie Byard at Berklee, played with Buddy Rich and Maynard Ferguson, settled in Chicago to play with Ira Sullivan and Gene Shaw, taught at Berklee in the '80s and returned to Chicago in '88. As musicians simply say, "he can play"—plus, he writes great tunes too. Although many may think that he is somewhat reclusive, he is only waiting for his time to be discovered and appreciated by the fickle and often quirky jazz audience. Perhaps this fine CD can help open the doors for him and his audience.
The title tune, Salishan, is a Native American word via Red Mitchell that means "coming together from diverse points to communicate in harmony." The diverse points are many here, starting with nine original tunes written as early as '56, through the '60s and '70s and as late as the mid-90s. Like many true composers, all are works of art that reflect Dogan's life experiences. Other diverse points include the band: Dogan's piano with bassist Dan DeLorenzo, drummer Tony Pinciotti, guitarist John McLean, bass trumpeter Ryan Shultz, saxophonist Ron Dewar and trombonist Kevin Quail.
As titled, all points come together on this 2001 recording. The title track is the opener with fine use of piano and bass ostinato coupled with a fast moving ensemble line. The soloists are set against each other with counterpoint, but this is not a cutting session. The Ole' Leprechaun, a composition that has already found its way into other bands, shows how the band plays the uptempo straight-ahead groove with both power and lightness. Stuff Plank, written in the '60s, begins with McLean's original guitar voice, leads to a quirky horn line, arco bass solo from DeLorenzo before settling into fine solos from Quail and Shultz. All good stuff and then comes Dewar's powerful tenor solo on Scoot'n—absolute proof that he is one of Chicago's finest musicians.
Dogan's compositions are the first focus here—then, the ensemble, fine soloists and interplay with the rhythm section. In the notes Gordon Brisker is quoted that Dogan "has always been the quintessential jazz musician." This recording is also what great jazz is all about, the home of the brave listeners who can access fine melodies, interesting solos and solid ensemble performances. Recommended listening.-MV
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